Time to spice up that old wall with a splash of summer-long color.
There is a tendency among gardeners who want to dress up their concrete walls to plant some creeping phlox and be done with it. And why not? Phlox is a perennial that will return to bloom year after year. And it will grow and spread, properly maintained. It’s actually quite lovely in early spring.
But that’s the problem with most perennials. They have a notoriously short blooming season. At most, under perfect weather conditions, you may get two to three weeks. More likely—at least it is around here—the temperature changes quickly and signals the plant to “get on with it,” meaning to finish flowering and move on the production of seeds. Which is, after all, the entire point of flowering.
There are alternative to this shortened season of blooms. Many annuals are available in the “trailing” or “hanging” varieties–everything from plain green ivy to some rather exotic geraniums.
My own favorite, and one that never fails to garner attention, is the lovely mass of trailing petunias known as “Purple Wave.” There are other and newer varieties out every year.
Plant them (I buy the small plants at a nursery, but seeds are available) early in spring after the frosts have passed. Water them weekly if need be, and don’t forget the fertilizer. I feed mine weekly with Peter’s Professional water soluble plant food, but others prefer Miracle Gro, etc.
Then stand back and watch these lovelies do their stuff. Within a few weeks they will begin to mass and trail down the side of your wall. And they will bloom that way until the frost takes them away.
© Wade Kingston